In the garden, the ducks get dressed. From time to time throughout the year, strollers through the Boston Public Garden will see that the sculptures of ducklings based on Robert McCloskey’s iconic children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings” have been dressed up, so that the bronze waddlers dons Red Sox uniforms, winter sweaters, Santa hats, Pats jerseys. It’s been a mystery as to who’s behind the outfitting, as though a team of elves descend and quickly decorate the ducks only to disappear back into the night. Nancy Schön, the sculptor of the duck family, recently announced a new project: a book that collects photographs of the dressed-up ducklings, and she’s asking for contributions. The gathering of photographs will show the ducks when they happen to appear in whatever seasonal, sports-related, celebratory garb. If you’ve ever wandered through the Garden and taken a shot of the ducks in dress-up, you’re invited to submit your photographs, with a chance it might be included in the book. To submit, visit https://nancyschon.typeform.com/to/lhTbAA.
COLLECTING HER THOUGHTS
Writer, critic, and journalist Joan Silverman cut her teeth back in the ’70s at alt-weeklies, and went on to write for this paper, the Boston Phoenix, Boston Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune, among many other publications. Looking back on her decades of work, she’s gathered together a collection of her columns and op-eds that are knit together with the wool of daily life. In “Someday This Will Fit: Linked Essays, Meditations & Other Midlife Follies” published recently by the Peterborough, New Hampshire-based Bauhan, Silverman explores the mysterious quotidian, the stuff that can so easily be absorbed into the backdrop of the always-there. She writes of dishes, birthdays, cancer, family recipes, and a lemon tree. She reminds us that minor encounters, familiar objects, and small moments make up the texture of our living. In this warm and acerbic collection of observations, she wrestles with the big human questions (like how to handle the death of a parent) as well as the smaller ones: “What is it about an old threadbare dictionary that inspires loyalty?”
The latest addition to Boston-based Beacon Press’s ReVisioning History series, in which scholars of note “reconstruct and reinterpret U.S. history from diverse perspectives,” is Daina Ramey Berry ad Kali Nicole Gross’s “A Black Women’s History of the United States.” The book opens in 1832 in Boston when Maria Stewart became “the first American woman of any race to give public remarks” urging the women in the audience to fight against biases of race and gender. Following the call of Stewart, who said, “There are no chains so galling as the chains of ignorance,” Berry and Gross were moved to create a “new, dynamic history survey” which “aims to paint a richly textured portrait of Black womanhood.” And so they’ve done. Beginning “Before 1619,” and moving through the present day, in this accessible and wide-ranging book, Berry and Gross have written invaluable new chapters on the under-explored impact Black woman have had on this history of this country.
“Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart (Grove)
“The Death of Sitting Bear” by N. Scott Momaday (Harper)
“Indelicacy” by Amina Cain (FSG)
Pick of the Week
Katherine N. at Trident Booksellers in Boston recommends “Deathless” by Catherynne M. Valente (Tor): “"Deathless" is something of a Russian fairytale, and something of a fantasy romance, and something altogether more. It follows Marya Morevna and her relationship with Koschei the Deathless, a character out of Russian folk lore. Valente’s writing captures the dreamy qualities of fairytales but packs enough of a punch to draw blood.”
Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.